Psychedelic music can be many things. It can be heavy, as in the case of psychedelic doom that’s reliant on muscular riffage, or it can be airy and breezy, reminding you of a warm summer day soaking up the sun. Free Whenever, an instrumental psych duo from Brooklyn, is of the latter variety, crafting soulful songs that’ll remind you of uber-popular acts like Khruangbin and others that draw influences from world music.
Free Whenever recently dropped Camino, the second single off their forthcoming EP, a delicious blend of vintage psych, dub reggae, eastern modality, and African rhythms. If you add all these things together, you get music that goes down smoothly, like a tropical drink on a hot day, and makes you want to hit the dance floor. As Free Whenever says, this is music for nomads, soul seekers, and wanderers in the digital era.
Neil Guleria and Trevor LaVecchia are Free Whenever’s masterminds, who began making music together out of their Brooklyn apartment in 2020. They love other electronic composers like Tame Impala and Skinshape, and it shows. Their next EP, The Movement, will be released on May 16, 2023, and one single – Automobile – is also out there streaming. This young duo is adept in this new age of DIY music self-promotion, as you can catch them on TikTok and various live streams.
If you listen closely to the single Automobile, you’ll notice the vast mishmash of eclectic influences, and that’s not by accident. Brooklyn is a true cultural mecca teeming with diversity, and Free Whenever draws on this inspiration for each touch of sonic flavor. The duo has released a slew of music since 2020, including three albums (Jam Junkies Vol. 1, Jam Junkies Vol. 2, and Open Air). They’ve done it all from a humble bedroom recording setup, self-producing and engineering the music as their creativity has burst forth.
The new single, Camino, was released on April 4th, and you can check it out below. Free Whenever relies on much improvisation. The song has interchanging riffs, rhythmic bass, and a steady backbeat that’s both energizing and the kind of music for lazy, slacker days.
Trevor says of the song that “it signifies the path forward. To keep evolving and traveling, energetic for the future and what it may bring. Camino is a road whose end is ultimately up to you.” I find that type of optimistic talk refreshing in this nihilistic age we’re living in, where it seems as if the world is teetering on the brink. Maybe things will work out. Perhaps we’ll snap out of our cynicism and learn to love each other better. Maybe this is all wishful thinking, but if you listen to Free Whenever long enough, they may put you in a cheerier mood.
The sound of Free Whenever on record is sublime, but the duo says their live shows, where they perform throughout the New York City area, are the essence of who they truly are. The performances are a celebration of life, a blissful sound experience. I am unsure how old these dudes are, but I’m guessing they’re younger. This is an excellent thing for multiple reasons. First, they have a bright future ahead of them, and we’re in store for more glorious tunes. Secondly, it shows the supreme vitality of the psychedelic music scene, where people worldwide, young and old, are creating beautiful music in this genre.
Like their heroes Khrubangin, listening to Free Whenever is like pulling out your passport and becoming a musical world traveler. By the time you’re done listening to their back catalog, you’ll have a few more stamps on the passport and want to start all over again.
Support Free Whenever by checking out their Bandcamp or official website or finding them on social media (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook).
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